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Basic Management Concepts for Medical Front Office Personnel

by Amanda Maddox

A successful medical office operates like a well-oiled machine. The staff members working the front are responsible for making sure money comes in and salaries are paid. Therefore, the front desk personnel must effectively manage the tasks set before them. Also, they must work well with other office members to ensure the office operates smoothly.

Customer Relations

The front office staff is generally the first line of communication a patient has with the office, either on the phone or in person. Therefore, good communication skills are essential for medical office personnel. Whether answering the phone and setting up appointments or gathering patient information, listening to the patient and striving to meet her needs is an essential management concept.

Health Records Management

The patient medical records, both hard copy and electronic, are often managed by the front office staff. The front office personnel adds patient insurance and billing information, along with the medical history completed by the patient, to the chart. She also transcribes the physician’s notes and uses the information to correctly bill the insurance company or patient. Therefore, understanding basic medical terminology is required.

Medical Billing and Collections

Insurance and patient billing is generally managed by the front office personnel. This includes entering the correct insurance company information, like name and address, the subscriber or identification number and date of birth, and group number. She also collects any copay or deductible due at the time of service. She then bills the patient for his responsibility after the insurance pays. If payment is not made in a timely manner, the medical staff member generally contacts the patient to collect what is owed or set up payments.

Medical Coding

Often the office personnel manages the coding of the medical charts. This includes matching the procedures performed during the visit with the correct Current Procedural Terminology code, or CPT code. She must understand the current guidelines for billing set forth by the American Medical Association. Additionally, she must match the proper diagnosis, or ICD-9 code, with the procedure based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.

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